Belfast Telegraph

Mourinho mocks Liverpool as Manchester United snatch point

By Jim Gracey

Unrepentant Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho insisted Liverpool and not his side should be criticised after last night's much vaunted Red Monday turned into Dead Monday in a drab goalless draw at Anfield.

Mourinho made no apology for mounting a defensive approach that saw United have just 35 per cent of possession, their lowest total in the Premier League since Opta started collecting data in 2003.

Instead the self-styled Special One insisted United proved Liverpool are not "the last wonder of the world".

And, despite managing just one shot on target and winning only one corner, Mourinho claimed Reds counterpart Jurgen Klopp should be the one under the spotlight. Liverpool, who could have gone top, have been touted as title challengers after eye-catching wins at Arsenal and Chelsea but they were frustrated by United with Mourinho taunting: "Two shots on target with 65 per cent of possession. You have to be critical of Liverpool. It is their problem, not our problem."

Mourinho continued: “They are not the last wonder of the world like you (the media) say they are but they are a very good team so we had to adapt a little to them.”

Anfield boss Klopp responded: “I have mixed emotions. I’m not happy about the game — we didn’t play as well as we could have played — but it’s a first clean sheet, which is all I’m happy about.”

Mourinho further contended: “I think it was a good performance by us. It was a difficult match for us and for them and I think we controlled the game tactically and emotionally and it is not easy to do both things here.

“The result I think is acceptable. We wanted more. For long periods in the game we thought that could be possible but we didn’t score and, if you don’t score, you don’t win. But I think it was a very positive performance.

“We stopped them playing, but they also did very well from a defensive point of view.

“They played (Emre) Can and (Jordan) Henderson for some reason and they did that for 90 minutes, so they normally project more players in attack.

“They were very cautious. They always kept Can and Henderson in position. They had only one player behind the three more offensive players.

“I think it was their intention to try and control us, which they also did well.”

Mourinho’s tactics were not unexpected — he did exactly the same, if not more extreme, when he was Chelsea manager in April 2014 and on that occasion they won 2-0 to derail Liverpool’s title bid. It was nothing Klopp did not expect to see.

“No I wasn’t surprised. I am not too happy,” he said.

“The game from the first second was very hectic and maybe that was what United wanted and we didn’t want and it was maybe more to their advantage.

“But you have to find a way back to the way we usually play. We lost patience far too early and our passing game was not good.

“I am pretty sure the last thing Jose Mourinho wants to do is to make a compliment to my team.

“When we saw the line-up, it was clear there would be a lot of high balls but I don’t remember a lot of chances they created from these situations.”

For all United’s negative tactics, Klopp expected more from his side and was disappointed they allowed themselves to become frustrated so quickly.

“We had 65 per cent possession but we have to do better. I didn’t expect we would have 10 to 15 chances,” he said.

“Second half we had chances but (David) De Gea was finally warm and he made brilliant saves. They had that chance with (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic.

“The best news is we have one point more and a clean sheet, nothing else.

“We can do much better and we must do much better. We have to stay cool.

“It was a really good attitude for my side. They tried everything, only with the wrong tools. We had good moments but not enough to deserve the win.”

United midfielder Ander Herrera was named man of the match and he said: “We did a fantastic job and can be very proud.

“Every player gave everything and this is the way we have to play big matches.

“It’s a fair draw — neither side deserved to lose.”

Belfast Telegraph


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